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SALUD! CHEERS! NA ZDROWIE! : Times Writers' Concise Correspondents Course in Cosmopolitan Conviviality

March 16, 1986|Juan de Onis

RIO DE JANEIRO — Diana Maher's Maca Dourada (Golden Apple) is off the beaten tourist path. What makes the ride up to this bar in Santa Tereza worthwhile is the view from the top. From any approach, it offers the best of this city's breathtaking vistas.

Maca Dourada is a little place, a former general store on a stone-paved square. There are 10 wooden tables with flowered red tablecloths and a marble counter with stools. Slow, tropical-style fans turn overhead.

Diana runs her place from behind the marble counter. She is a genial, sun-tanned Rhode Islander who graduated from Brown University in 1950 and has led an international life--Africa, Portugal and now Brazil. She offers all the standard drinks but the best is the caipirinha, made with freshly squeezed limes and Brazilian cachaca (ka-sha-sa), which is distilled from the juice of sugar cane.

On weekends, drinks are served beginning with lunch at 1:30 p.m. On weekdays, the bar is open only in the evenings, except for Mondays, when it is closed.

The crowd is from the neighborhood, but since Santa Tereza is a place that attracts artists, writers and actors as well as longtime resident foreigners, it has both a local and international flavor.

It is the last Rio neighborhood where the old electric streetcars still run. But take a cab to get there.

Maca Dourada. Rua do Progresso 5, on the square called Largo das Neves. No telephone.

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